Russia in Review, March 10-17, 2023

6 Things to Know

  1. The International Criminal Court on March 17 issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over the alleged deportations of Ukrainian children. The ICC is accusing Putin and Russia’s children ombudswoman Maria Lvova-Belova of “the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the warrant "meaningless," while Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov called requests to comment on the ICC's move “outrageous and unacceptable.” It is difficult to see how the ICC could enforce the warrant even if Russia had not withdrawn its signature from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.1
  2. Military-technical cooperation will be among the topics Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping will discuss during Xi’s visit to Russia on March 20-22, according to Putin’s foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov. Ushakov’s revelation comes after repeated warnings issued by the U.S. to China to refrain from exporting arms to Russia. Putin and Xi will also discuss energy cooperation and the conflict in Ukraine, according to Ushakov. In announcing Xi’s visit to Russia, a Chinese official said it was “for the sake of peace.” After meeting Putin, Xi will discuss peaceful resolution of the conflict with Zelensky via a video link. "China hopes that all parties will ... resume peace talks as soon as possible," Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba this week.
  3. The quality of Ukraine's military force has been degraded by casualties of up to 120,000 that have taken many of the most experienced fighters off the battlefield. The shortage of experienced personnel has made Ukrainian officials question their army’s readiness to mount a major offensive this spring, as has the depletion of military equipment stocks, WP reported. A senior Ukrainian government official said: "I don't believe in a big counteroffensive for us. I'd like to believe in it, but I'm looking at the resources and asking, 'With what?'” A senior American defense official said Ukraine’s allies do not have enough ammunition to keep up with Ukraine’s pace, which is estimated to average 3,000 shells a day, and warned that the stocks are critically low.
  4. The U.S. has accused Russia of bringing down a surveillance drone that has been patrolling above international waters in the Black Sea. Washington says the MQ-9 drone crashed some 50 nautical miles southwest of Crimea after a Su-27 collided with it on March 14. Russian officials claimed the drone has violated a restriction zone off the coast of Crimea that Russia has sought to impose, but U.S. officials have refused to recognize that zone. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke to their Russian counterparts about the incident. Austin said the U.S. takes “any potential for escalation very seriously, and that’s why I believe it’s important to keep the lines of communication open.” When asked whether the episode represented an act of war, Milley said: “As far as an act of war goes, I’m not gonna go there,” adding that “we do not seek armed conflict with Russia.” 
  5. Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis believes the “U.S. has many vital national interests ... but becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.” “The U.S. should not provide assistance that could require the deployment of American troops or enable Ukraine to engage in offensive operations beyond its borders,” according to DeSantis, who is expected to declare a presidential bid. Donald Trump, the current font-runner for the GOP nomination, has also expressed misgivings about the current levels of U.S. support for Ukraine. “This fight is far more important for Europe than it is for the U.S.,” Trump said. The position taken by DeSantis and Trump is at odds with that of other potential GOP candidates, including Mike Pence and Nikki Haley, according to NYT.
  6. Russia's arms exports dropped 31% in the five years that ended in 2022, compared with the five years ending in 2017, according to SIPRI. Russia's share of global arms exports dropped from 22% in 2013-2017 to 16% in 2018-2022. If one were to compare SIPRI’s data for Russia’s arms exports in 2021 and in 2022, one would find that the decline was less than 1.3% (from $2.857 billion to $2.820 billion). In addition, Russia retained its position as the second largest arms exporter after the U.S. in 2018-2022, according to SIPRI. In contrast, the U.S. market share grew, up 7 percentage points to 40%, over the same period, according to WSJ.


I. U.S. and Russian priorities for the bilateral agenda

Nuclear security and safety:

  • U.S. President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2024 budget request for the NNSA totals $23.8 billion, an increase of $1.7 billion over the FY2023 enacted level. It includes a $2.5 billion request for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation efforts to strengthen key nonproliferation, nuclear and radiological security, and Ukraine response activities. $18.8 billion is requested for Weapons Activities. (NNSA, 03.13.23)

North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs:

  • No significant developments.

Iran and its nuclear program:

  • Iranian state media reported on March 11 that Tehran has reached a deal to buy advanced Su-35 fighter planes from Russia, citing Iran’s U.N. mission in New York. (RFE/RL, 03.11.23)

Humanitarian impact of the Ukraine conflict:

  • The International Criminal Court on March 17 issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over the alleged deportations of Ukrainian children. The ICC is accusing Putin and Russia’s children ombudswoman Maria Lvova-Belova of “the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the warrant "meaningless," while Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov called requests to comment on the ICC's move “outrageous and unacceptable.” (RM, 03.17.23, RFE/RL, 03.17.23, MT/AFP, 03.17.23, Axios, 03.17.23)
    • Russia's forced transfer and deportation of Ukrainian children to areas under its control amounts to a war crime, U.N. investigators said March 16, adding that they are probing allegations of genocide in the Ukraine conflict. (MT/AFP, 03.16.23)
  • Russian authorities have committed a "wide range" of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in Ukraine, including killings, unlawful confinement, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as the unlawful deportation of children, the U.N.-backed Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said in a report released March 16. (RFE/RL, 03.16.23)
  • Investigators for Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) have confirmed the identity of a Ukrainian soldier who was captured by Russian forces and shot dead after declaring, “Glory to Ukraine” in a video. The SBU said the soldier was Oleksandr Matsiyevskiy, who was reported missing in the Donetsk region in December. (RFE/RL, 03.12.23)
  • Russian missiles and artillery have destroyed more than 152,000 residential buildings since the start of the invasion, Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said. (Bloomberg, 03.12.23) 
  • The IMF is finalizing a four-year lending program worth $15.6 billion for Ukraine, with a person close to the talks saying an announcement is “imminent.” The person said an announcement would come in a few days. (FT, 03.16.23)
  • The extension of the deal that’s bolstered Ukraine’s crop exports on March 17 was still clouded by uncertainty, as negotiations continue the day before the existing term ends on March 18. Russia this week proposed extending the initiative for only 60 days—half the duration of its prior two terms—but Kyiv has pushed back, saying that it contradicted the terms of the overarching agreement. (Bloomberg, 03.17.23)

Military aspects of the Ukraine conflict and their impacts:

  •  In the past month of fighting Russian forces have gained a net total of 16 square miles of Ukrainian territory, according to the Russia-Ukraine War Report Card. In the assessment of U.K. Defense Intelligence, Russia is conducting some of the lowest rates of local offensive action that has been seen since January 2023. (Belfer Russia-Ukraine War Task Force, 03.14.23, RM, 03.17.23)
  • In its assessment of combat in the area of the Donetsk region town of Bakhmut on  March 16, Ukrainian OSINT Telegram channel “” said that the Russian forces were attacking from three sides, making some gains north of Bohdanivka after deploying fresh forces. The channel reported no significant changes in control of territory as of March 16. Bohdanivka remained contested as of March 17, as were the nearby settlements of Khromove and Orikhovo-Vasylivka, according to Russian military expert Boris Rozhin. Bakhmut’s encirclement remained incomplete as of March 16, according to Rozhin. (RM, 03.17.23)
  • From Kupiansk in the north to Avdiivka in the south, through Bakhmut, Lyman and dozens of towns in between, Russian forces have been attacking along a 160-mile arc in eastern Ukraine this week. (NYT, 03.14.23) 
  • The quality of Ukraine's military force, once considered a substantial advantage over Russia, has been degraded by a year of casualties that have taken many of the most experienced fighters off the battlefield, leading some Ukrainian officials to question Kyiv's readiness to mount a much-anticipated offensive, which U.S. officials expect to start in late April or early May. U.S. and European officials have estimated that as many as 120,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or wounded. The Ukrainian force is also suffering from basic shortages of ammunition, including artillery shells and mortar bombs, according to military personnel in the field. (WP, 03.13.23)
    • A battalion commander in the 46th Air Assault Brigade, who is being identified only by his call sign, Kupol, said his battalion is unrecognizable after a year of war. Of about 500 soldiers, roughly 100 were killed in action and another 400 wounded, leading to complete turnover. Kupol said he was the sole military professional in the battalion. (WP, 03.13.23)
      • Kupol subsequently quit his post this week, after his superiors demoted him because of his remarks. (WP, 03.16.23)
    • Ukrainian casualties have been so severe that commanders will have to decide whether to send units to defend Bakhmut or use them in a spring offensive, several Western officials said. (NYT, 03.16.23)
    • More than 28,000 people have volunteered to serve in Ukraine’s Offensive Guard units, which are now nearly fully staffed, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said. (RFE/RL, 03.11.23)
  • Two Russian Su-27 jet fighters and the U.S. MQ-9 surveillance drone originating from Romania flew near one another for about 30 minutes in international airspace on March 14. At about 7 a.m. one of the Russian jet fighters flew past the drone, dumped fuel on it and pulled away. The second jet then sought to do the same but collided with the drone, a defense official said. The collision knocked off a piece of the drone and its operators guided it down to the water. The collision occurred about 50 nautical miles southwest of Crimea, and the drone landed another 10 miles southwest of that point, a U.S. defense official said. Territorial waters extend 12 miles from the shore. (WP, 03.16.23, WSJ, 03.14.23)
    • The Pentagon has released a 42-second video that shows two Russian fighter jets making high-speed passes and both spraying fuel on the drone. During the second approach shown, the U.S. military said one fighter jet collided with the drone, though this cannot be seen in the video. The impact took the American drone’s camera feed down for about 60 seconds. When the video is restored, one of the drone’s propellers appears to be damaged. (FT, 03.16.23)
    • U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu about the incident. Austin said the U.S. takes “any potential for escalation very seriously, and that’s why I believe it’s important to keep the lines of communication open.” In separate remarks Austin said the U.S. would continue to fly surveillance drones in international airspace and denounced the actions of the Russian jet fighter. Russia’s defense ministry said Shoigu told Austin the incident took place because the U.S. violated a restriction zone off the coast of Crimea that Russia has sought to impose. There is no "international norm," however, governing the unilateral declaration of exclusive airspace and maritime zones in times of conflict. The phone call marked the third time the two officials have spoken since the war began. (FT, 03.16.23, FT, 03.16.23, WSJ, 03.15.23, WP, 03.16.23)
    • Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had a call with his Russian counterpart, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces about the incident. Asked whether the episode represented an act of war, Milley said: “As far as an act of war goes, I’m not gonna go there. Incidents happen.” Milley added that “we do not seek armed conflict with Russia.” (FT, 03.16.23, AP, 03.15.23, Bloomberg, 03.16.23)
    • Moscow's envoy to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, was summoned to the State Department to be handed a formal objection from the U.S. over the incident. Antonov said he "categorically rejected all the insinuations of the U.S. side.” (WSJ, 03.15.23, NYT, 03.15.23)
    • "This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional," said U.S. European Command. One Pentagon official described the move as a "juvenile" but accidental move by the Russian pilots. (WSJ, 03.14.23)
    • The U.S. hasn't recovered the wreckage as it no longer sails its ships in the Black Sea, following a Turkish prohibition on warships imposed after Russia's invasion. (WSJ, 03.14.23, NYT, 03.15.23)
    • Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Putin had been briefed about the drone incident. (FT, 03.16.23)
    • Russian officials said the jet fighters were scrambled because the U.S. drone flew in the area of Crimea, with its transponders turned off. The Russian defense ministry claimed its jets didn't fire their weapons, denied they came into contact with the drone and said the U.S. craft went into an uncontrolled flight as a result of sharp maneuvering. Sergei Naryshkin, director of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, said that the U.S. was performing reconnaissance operations in the Black Sea. (WSJ, 03.14.23, NYT, 03.15.23)
    • Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, said the Russian authorities were trying to retrieve the remnants of the drone. Ukraine’s military reported unusual Russian naval activity in the Black Sea on March 16, saying more ships were deployed in what suggested they were searching for the wreckage of the drone. (WSJ, 03.14.23, NYT, 03.15.23, NYT, 03.16.23)
  • The British and German air forces carried out their first joint interception of a Russian aircraft near NATO airspace, the BBC reported March 15. (MT/AFP, 03.15.23)
  • A senior Ukrainian government official called the number of tanks promised by the West a "symbolic" amount. "If you have more resources, you more actively attack," the senior official said. "If you have fewer resources, you defend more. We're going to defend. That's why if you ask me personally, I don't believe in a big counteroffensive for us. I'd like to believe in it, but I'm looking at the resources and asking, 'With what?'” (WP, 03.13.23)
  • The United States and Britain are preparing to ship thousands of artillery rounds and rockets to help shore up supplies for a coming Ukrainian offensive. But a senior American defense official described that as a “last-ditch effort” because Ukraine’s allies do not have enough ammunition to keep up with Ukraine’s pace and their stocks are critically low. The Pentagon estimated that Ukraine was firing several thousand artillery shells a day across the 600-mile front line, which includes Bakhmut. (NYT, 03.16.23, NYT, 03.16.23)
    • Analysts estimate that Russia is firing some 10,000 shells a day, down from 20,000 to 30,000 last summer—but still well above Ukraine's 3,000 or so. The U.K. said that artillery rationing on the front lines was a major reason for Russia's recent failures to make military gains in Ukraine. (WSJ, 03.14.23) 
    • Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has said the country’s armed forces require more than 350,000 shells per month, more than three times the amount it’s currently using. (Bloomberg, 03.14.23)
    • The Pentagon’s $170 billion procurement request for the new fiscal year focuses on replacing munitions supplied to Ukraine. Before the war started, the U.S. could produce roughly 13,000 rounds a month of 155mm ammunition, according to the U.S. Army. That monthly figure has jumped to about 20,000 rounds this year, and the U.S. hopes to increase it to 50,000 rounds by next year. (Bloomberg, 03.11.23, WSJ, 03.16.23)
  • The U.S. military is rushing equipment to the battlefield and training Ukrainian forces at a rapid pace, ahead of a major offensive against Russia expected by late spring. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin projected a sense of urgency on March 15 after a virtual meeting of the multinational Ukraine Defense Contact Group, saying that “Ukraine doesn’t have any time to waste.” At the meeting of the group Sweden announced that it would provide Ukraine with 10 Leopard tanks and key air defense components and Norway said it was partnering with the U.S. to donate two NASAMS systems to Ukraine. (Politico, 03.15.23, Ukrinform, 03.16.23)
  • The EU is expected to sign off on a joint ammunition procurement plan for Ukraine as soon as next week, but it’s stalled on how to provide Kyiv with the 155mm shells it needs this year. (Bloomberg, 03.13.23)
  • Poland will send four Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine in the coming days as the nation moves ahead with deliveries to bolster Kyiv’s air power, President Andrzej Duda said.  “The decision has been made” and more MiG-29 models currently under maintenance are on the way, Duda told reporters in Warsaw March 16. (Bloomberg, 03.16.23)
  • Slovakia will send its entire fleet of 13 MiG-29 jets to Ukraine to boost its defense against Russian forces, government officials said. The nation will also send part of its Kub air-defense system to Ukraine. In return, it will receive about $700 million worth of U.S. military equipment and $200 million from European Union funds. (Bloomberg, 03.17.23)
  • Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin is prepared to discuss providing U.S.-made fighter jets to Ukraine. Marin, who visited Kyiv on March 10, said Helsinki plans to purchase 64 modern F-35A fighters. (RFE/RL, 03.11.23)
  • Germany’s largest defense contractor Rheinmetall has reported record earnings. Operating profits jumped 27% to €754 million last year, and Rheinmetall said it expected the figure to rise further next year. Sales in 2023 are expected to reach a range of €7.4 billion- €7.6 billion compared with €6.4 billion in sales in 2022. (FT, 03.16.23)
  • Rheinmetall said Europe’s defense industry can’t meet Ukraine’s artillery ammunition needs for its war against Russia unless governments increase spending enough to double production capacity. (Bloomberg, 03.14.23) 
  • “Swiss weapons must not be used in wars,” Swiss president Alain Berset—who is also the country’s interior minister—said, accusing opponents of engaging in “war frenzy” and calling for a rapid diplomatic solution to Russia’s invasion of its neighbor. (FT, 03.14.23)

Punitive measures related to Russia’s war against Ukraine and their impact globally:

  • The U.S. has begun an aggressive new push to inflict pain on Russia’s economy and specifically its oligarchs. U.S. officials will focus on efforts to legally liquidate the property of Russian oligarchs, expand financial penalties on those who facilitate the evasion of sanctions and close loopholes in the law that allow oligarchs to use shell companies to move through the U.S. financial system. (AP/Bloomberg, 03.14.23) 
    • Millionaire populations dropped by 12% last year in New York, 14% in Hong Kong and 15% in Moscow. (FT, 03.12.23)
    • Russian government statistics show that Russians took 1.2 million trips to the UAE in 2022, compared with one million in the pre-pandemic year of 2019. Russia’s rich are simply shifting their lives to the UEA, which—like the rest of the Middle East—has refused to join the West’s sanctions against Moscow. (NYT, 03.13.23)
  • The European Union is set to provide a clearer legal framework to target family members of sanctioned Russian billionaires, an important shift after an EU court annulled penalties imposed on the mother of Prigozhin. The latest proposal aims to ensure that there is a very strong evidence base showing that some family members received unjustified benefits from sanctioned oligarchs, and could help to circumvent sanctions. (Bloomberg, 03.16.23)
  • U.S. officials allege Russian national Artem Uss—who was arrested in Italy last year—is at the center of a suspected secret supply chain that prosecutors say used American technology to support Putin’s war in Ukraine. Court documents from the Uss case and others like it show how Russia allegedly built a secret pipeline for years before the war to ensure the supply of semiconductors to the country despite U.S. controls. Those well-honed tactics are now helping Russian operators rebuild dismantled networks and deceive publicly listed U.S. tech companies. (Bloomberg, 03.15.23)
  • Nasdaq has notified Russia’s tech giant Yandex and four other major internet companies that their stocks will be delisted this month unless they appeal the stock market’s decision. Nasdaq said it has also notified the e-commerce platform Ozon, the payment service provider QIWI, the job search site HeadHunter and the real estate database Cian of plans to delist their securities on March 24. (MT/AFP, 03.16.23)
  • Russia was able to save abroad about a third of the $227 billion windfall earned last year from its commodity exports, creating a potential new flashpoint as the U.S. and its allies look to tighten their sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine. About $80 billion is scattered across holdings of cash, real estate and investments in affiliates abroad, according to a Bloomberg Economics estimate. (Bloomberg, 03.14.23) 
  • The Swiss have frozen only around $8 billion of Russian assets. That is a small proportion of what the Swiss economics ministry says is roughly $49.3 billion of Russian assets in the country. European officials suspect the total may be higher, up to $200 billion. (NYT, 03.12.23)
  • Glencore Plc is willing to walk away from a $16 billion deal to buy aluminum from Russia’s No. 1 producer, in a move that would distance itself from one of its biggest rivals. Under the company’s current policy of not doing any new business with Russia, it won’t renew a deal with Rusal when that expires next year (Bloomberg, 03.16.23)
  • Insurers led by AIG are asking London’s High Court to merge various lawsuits brought by aircraft lessors against insurance companies refusing to pay out claims for jets effectively confiscated in Russia. AerCap Holdings NV, the world’s biggest jet lessor, is suing AIG, along with Lloyd’s Insurance Company and Fidelis Insurance for $3.5 billion after they denied the leasing company’s claims for the 116 planes it has stuck in Russia with various airlines. (Bloomberg, 03.13.23)
  • Kyiv has secured its right to defend itself in a full-blown trial in London against Moscow’s claims that it owes Russia $3 billion for failing to repay a bond issued shortly before Ukraine’s 2014 revolution. The long-running dispute, which centers on whether or not Ukraine illegally defaulted on $3 billion worth of its debt owned by Russia, can be heard in a High Court trial with evidence and witnesses. (FT, 03.15.23)
  • Raiffeisen seeks to swap €400 million with Sberbank in “financial prisoner exchange.” (FT, 03.15.23)
  • Russia’s Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Foreign Affairs propose to suspend agreements on avoiding double taxation with all "unfriendly countries.” (Meduza, 03.15.23)
  • Russia has imposed sanctions on 23 citizens of the United Kingdom, which has been among the strongest backers of Ukraine. (RFE/RL, 03.18.23)

Ukraine-related negotiations:

  • Voicing growing frustration with Russia’s war in Ukraine, Amitabh Kant, India’s chief coordinator for the Group of 20 nations, called on Europe to “find a solution” to the conflict, saying it was holding down the world’s poor in a particularly difficult post-Covid period. (NYT, 03.15.23)

Great Power rivalry/new Cold War/NATO-Russia relations:

  • Ron DeSantis on March 13 expressed strong misgivings over U.S. support for Ukraine. “ “The U.S. should not provide assistance that could require the deployment of American troops or enable Ukraine to engage in offensive operations beyond its borders.” "While the U.S. has many vital national interests—securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness with our military, achieving energy security and independence and checking the economic, cultural and military power of the Chinese Communist Party—becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them," DeSantis said in a statement. “Without question, peace should be the objective,” he said. (WP, 03.14.23, Bloomberg, 03.14.23, FT, 03.14.23)
  • Donald Trump said Russia would “definitely not have raided and attacked Ukraine” if he were still in the White House. Trump also insisted that Europe “must pay at least equal to what the U.S. is paying to help Ukraine” and pay the U.S. back “the difference” between what Washington and Europe have already committed to the effort. “This fight is far more important for Europe than it is for the U.S.,” Trump added. (FT, 03.14.23, FT, 03.15.23)
    • The position taken by DeSantis and Trump is at odds with that of other potential GOP candidates  including former Vice President Mike Pence, former Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. It is also sharply at odds with most Republican senators, including Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader. (NYT, 03.13.23)
  • The U.K. government said it would spend an extra $6 billion on its nuclear-armed submarine fleet and replenishing munitions stockpiles, to both bolster support for Ukraine and deter an increasingly assertive Beijing. (WSJ, 03.13.23)
  • Germany’s armed forces’ €100 billion upgrade will take 50 years to complete if it continues at its current sluggish pace, according to Eva Högl, the parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces. (FT, 03.15.23)
  • Hungary will vote on Finland's application to join the NATO defense alliance on March 27, Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said on March 17. (RFE/RL, 03.17.23)
  • U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan urged Turkey to ratify the membership bids of Sweden and Finland into NATO as pressure builds on two remaining holdouts to approve the expansion of the military alliance. (Bloomberg, 03.14.23) 
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced March 17 that Turkey would move to ratify Finland’s application to join NATO, clearing a significant hurdle for the Nordic nation’s bid to join the alliance but leaving neighboring Sweden on the sidelines for now. (NYT, 03.17.23)
    • "We have many times expressed regret over Finland and Sweden's move toward membership and said many times that Russia does not pose a threat to these countries," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. (MT/AFP, 03.16.23)
  • Turkey might not need Russian S-400 batteries in order to protect itself as its homegrown equipment increasingly takes on that role, Turkey’s defense equipment manufacturer Aselsan Elektronik Sanayi said. (Bloomberg, 03.14.23) 
  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused the Russian mercenary Wagner Group of bringing violence and instability to Africa as he completed a trip intended to reassert U.S. engagement with the continent as Russia and China have heightened their presence. (Bloomberg, 03.17.23)

China-Russia: Allied or aligned?

  • Moscow and Beijing have announced Xi Jinping’s official visit to Russia on March 20-22.  (TASS, 03.17.23)
    • Putin and Xi would meet one-on-one on March 20, followed by an informal lunch, said Peskov. The key China-Russia talks will be held on March 21. In his negotiations with Xi in the Kremlin on that day, Putin will be flanked by first deputy chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, among others, according to Vedomosti’s summary of Ushakov’s preview of the visit. Xi and Putin will then sign a joint statement on deepening the Russia-China comprehensive partnership and a joint statement on the direction of Russian-Chinese economic cooperation until 2030. They will also issue a joint statement for the press. Xi’s March 21 activities will also include a separate meeting with Russian PM Mikhail Mishustin. (RM, 03.17.23, FT, 03.17.23)
    • The Kremlin said Putin and Xi would discuss “issues of developing relations of all-encompassing partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China.” China’s foreign ministry said Xi and Putin would have “in-depth exchanges on bilateral relations and important international and regional issues of mutual concern.” (FT, 03.17.23)
    • Putin and Xi will discuss military-technical cooperation and energy during talks in Moscow, Ushakov told reporters March 17. “Military-industrial cooperation will be certainly discussed. [Defense Minister Sergei] Shoigu and [Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Dmitry] Shugaev have been invited” to participate in the negotiations, Ushakov said. (TASS, 03.17.23, RM, 03.17.23)
    • In addition to meeting in person, Xi and Putin are penning commentaries on their individual visions of PRC-RF relations to be published on March 20 in Rossiiskaya Gazeta and People's Daily respectively, according to Vedomosti’s summary of Ushakov’s preview of the visit. (RM, 03.18.23)
    • Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Xi’s visit will also be a trip to foster peace, "China will continue to uphold its objective and just position on the Ukraine crisis and play a constructive role in promoting peace talks," the spokesperson said. Ushakov said China’s 12-point peace plan for Ukraine will also be discussed, according to Vedomosti’s summary of Ushakov’s preview of the visit.   (Xinhua, 03.16.23, RM, 03.17.23)
      • After meeting Putin, Xi may speak with Zelensky via a video link, in what would be their first conversation since Russia’s invasion, a Ukrainian official familiar with the preparations said. Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang spoke March 16 with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba. "China hopes that all parties will remain calm, rational and restrained, and resume peace talks as soon as possible," Qin told Kuleba. Beijing is concerned that a resolution to “the crisis” may be delayed, and that the situation could escalate or get out of control, according to a statement on China’s foreign ministry’s website. (WSJ, 03.13.23, Bloomberg, 03.13.23, FT, 03.17.23, Bloomberg, 03.17.23, Bloomberg, 03.17.23, NYT, 03.17.23, RFE/RL, 03.16.23)
  • A better world order would be based on mutual respect, tolerance and equality—and China would be its natural leader, Xi told heads of political parties for an array of countries, including Russia and South Africa, Nicaragua and East Timor. "Chinese-style modernization does not follow the old path of colonial plunder or the hegemony of strong countries," Xi said. (WP,. 03.16.23)
  • China, Russia and Iran launched joint military exercises on March 15 in the Gulf of Oman in the latest sign of Beijing's efforts to expand its influence in the Middle East. China's Defense Ministry said the five-day exercise would deepen cooperation between the three nations, posing a growing challenge to U.S. interests in the region. (WSJ, 03.15.23)
  • China is ahead of Russia in development of hypersonic weapons and may have already deployed a weapon capable of hitting U.S. bases in the Pacific, the Defense Intelligence Agency said. (Bloomberg, 03.11.23)
  • China has named Li Shangfu, a general under U.S. sanctions, as its new defense minister, creating an additional hurdle for military dialogue as the two countries fret that geopolitical tensions could boil over into conflict. In 2018, the U.S. added Li to a sanctions list for engaging in transactions with individuals affiliated with Russia’s defense or intelligence sectors. (FT, 03.12.23) 
  • In 2022, China's export of mechanical and electrical products to Russia increased by 9%, high-tech products increased by 51%, and automobiles and parts increased by 45% year-on-year, according to Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang. (Global Times, 03.17.23)
  • Chinese companies, including one connected to the government in Beijing, have sent Russian entities 1,000 CQ-A assault rifles and other equipment that could be used for military purposes, including drone parts and body armor, according to trade and customs data obtained by Politico. (Politico, 03.16.23)
  • Top Republicans are urging the White House to crack down on nuclear co-operation between Russia and China following reports that Moscow’s state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom is providing highly enriched uranium for Chinese fast-breeder reactors. These facilities are used to produce plutonium that could help China increase its stockpile of nuclear warheads. (FT, 03.17.23)

Missile defense:

  • No significant developments.

Nuclear arms:

  • “Cooperation between Russia and the United States on non-proliferation and arms control is not a concession or a nod to anyone. It is an absolute necessity. We will have to return to such issues, and it is better to do this without ‘revaccination’ with the next Caribbean [Cuban Missile] crisis,” Russia’s envoy to the U.S. Antonov wrote. (RM, 03.13.23)


  • The former police chief of the Kizlyar district of Daghestan, Gazi Isayev, was found guilty of involvement in Emirate Caucasus-sponsored terrorist attacks in the Moscow metro in 2010 and sentenced to life in prison. Two bomb attacks in the Moscow metro in late March 2010 killed 39 people and injured dozens of others. (RFE/RL, 03.16.23)

Conflict in Syria:

  • President Bashar al-Assad of Syria again voiced his full support for Russia's war in Ukraine on March 15 during a meeting in the Kremlin with Putin. Assad said that he would welcome any Russian proposals to set up new military bases and boost troop numbers in the Middle Eastern country. Assad has told RIAN that Damascus recognizes the territories claimed by the Kremlin in Ukraine. In a separate interview he said he will not meet Erdogan until what he termed Ankara’s “illegal occupation” of Syrian land was over. (NYT, 03.15.23, al Jazeera, 03.16.23)

Cyber security:

  • Microsoft said it believed that a group with ties to Russia that it had tracked was conducting actions that could “be in preparation for a renewed offensive” against Ukraine, including reconnaissance, access operations and data-erasing “wiper” malware, much as hackers did in the opening days of last year’s invasion. (NYT, 03.15.23)
    • For now Russia’s main influence campaign is concentrated in Europe, but it will shift to the United States “as the year gets closer to a presidential election debate going into fall,” said Clint Watts, the head of Microsoft’s Digital Threat Analysis Center. (NYT, 03.15.23)
  • The U.N.’s Open-ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communications technologies met for its 77th Session on March 6-10 in New York, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry  and European Commission. (RM, 03.13.23)
  • Ukrainian officials are planning to share the technology underlying a popular app, Diia, used for everything from domestic identification services to tracking Russian soldiers, with other governments in an attempt to help them offer similar tools to their citizens. (Bloomberg, 03.17.23)

Energy exports:

  • Russia’s oil-export revenue fell to its lowest in more than a year in February as buyers of the nation’s barrels largely complied with price caps and sanctions, according to the International Energy Agency. The flow of money into the country from international oil sales fell to $11.6 billion last month, down more than 40% from a year earlier, according to the IEA. The weighted average export price of Russian crude was at $52.48 a barrel, compared with a cap of $60, according to the IEA. "The G-7 sanctions regime has been effective in not restricting global crude and product supplies, while simultaneously curtailing Russia's ability to generate export revenue," the IEA said. At the same time, the IEA revised up its outlook for Russia’s average 2023 oil output to 10.4 million barrels a day, which is still down 740,000 barrels a day from the prior year. (Bloomberg, 03.15.23, Bloomberg, 03.15.23, WSJ, 03.15.23)
    • In the seven days to March 10, Russia’s oil shipments recovered 40% of the previous weeks’ loss, rising to 3.33 million barrels a day. (Bloomberg, 03.13.23)
  • India will not breach Western sanctions on Russia—including the price cap of $60 a barrel imposed on purchases of oil from Moscow—according to people familiar with the matter, who said the authorities have asked banks and traders to adhere to the rules. India overtook China as the biggest buyer of Russian seaborne crude in early November and has continued to buy more than its neighbor ever since. (Bloomberg, 03.13.23)
  • Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak met with Saudi Arabia’s oil chief in Riyadh on March 16. The two discussed “oil markets and efforts of the OPEC+ group to promote market balance and stability,” according to the kingdom’s state news agency. They also “stressed their countries’ commitment to the decision made by OPEC+ last October to reduce production by 2 million barrels a day until the end of 2023.” (Bloomberg, 03.17.23)
  • The heads of NATO and the European Commission visited Norway’s Troll platform, which supplies about 10% of Europe’s gas needs, in a show of strength intended to highlight their determination to protect crucial energy infrastructure against potential sabotage. (FT, 03.17.23)
  • Investigators of the Nord Stream pipelines bombing believe a 50-foot-long yacht, the Andromeda, may have been used to deploy divers to the pipelines for the bombing in an operation that involved six individuals, according to WSJ. German officials said they were told some of the people who rented the yacht were Ukrainian. Others had Bulgarian passports since determined to be forgeries, they said. Investigators have established that the rental fee for the Andromeda was paid by a Polish-registered company, according to German officials. The officials said investigators believe the company is controlled by Ukrainian owners.  German investigators believe that it was in Wiek that the suspected saboteurs loaded explosives—ferried to the port in a white van. (WSJ, 03.16.23, RM, 03.16.23)
    • Putin has dismissed as "complete nonsense" allegations that pro-Ukrainian activists with no ties to the state could be behind the explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines. (RFE/RL, 03.15.23)
  • Approval for the expansion of America’s Plaquemines export facility puts total U.S. LNG export capacity on pace to surpass 20 billion cf/d over the next couple of years with the projects that have committed to construction. They will make the U.S. the world’s largest LNG exporter by far. (FT, 03.14.23)

Climate change:

  • No significant developments.

U.S.-Russian economic ties:

  • No significant developments.

U.S.-Russian relations in general:

  • A documentary tracking jailed Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny as he recovered in Berlin after being poisoned has won this year's Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Film. Navalny on March 15 praised all those resisting dictatorship and war while thanking the team that made the Oscar-winning film. (MT/AFP, 03.15.23, RFE/RL, 03.13.23)
  • A Moscow court has declared the bankruptcy of RFE/RL's operations in Russia following the company's refusal to pay multiple fines totaling more than 1 billion rubles ($14 million) for noncompliance with the so-called "foreign agents" law. (RFE/RL, 03.13.23)
  • In a pattern that has been repeated around the world from Afghanistan to Ukraine to Yemen, local staff of the U.S. embassy in Russia have been left behind. Former local staff say their work for the U.S. Embassy left them de facto blacklisted from professional jobs in Russia and subject to increased scrutiny by its security services. Some see few options other than to leave the country as Moscow wages an unsparing crackdown on dissent. (FP, 03.15.23)
  • Four space station astronauts returned to Earth late on March 11 after a quick SpaceX flight home. The U.S.-Russian-Japanese crew spent five months at the International Space Station, arriving last October. (AP, 03.11.23)


II. Russia’s domestic policies

Domestic politics, economy and energy:

  • Russian GDP is expected to fall 2.5% this year and a further 0.5% in 2024, extending its recession since its invasion of Ukraine, OECD said. (Bloomberg, 03.17.23)
  • Russia will impose a 5% windfall tax on big companies, finance minister Anton Siluanov said today at the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs congress. (FT, 03.17.23)
  • Russian aluminum giant Rusal said March 17 its net profit plummeted almost 45% in 2022 to $1.8 billion. (MT/AFP, 03.17.23)
  • Putin told Russia’s billionaires to step up in the face of what he called a “sanctions war” from the West during an annual meeting of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. Putin blamed Russia’s recent drop in GDP on mounting sanctions (The Hill, 03.16.23)
  • Putin said on March 14 that Russia is fighting for its very existence in Ukraine, which he said Western states were using to destabilize and “pull apart” Russia. Speaking at a military helicopter factory in Buryatia he said that Western states were seeking to “improve their geopolitical standing” by getting involved in the war in Ukraine, but that for Russia the stakes were much more serious. “This is not a geopolitical task for us,” said Putin in a meeting that was televised by Russian state networks. “For us this is a fight for the existence of Russian statehood.” (NYT, 03.15.23)
  • A part of the Valdai National Park in northwestern Russia has been closed to visitors since an investigation revealed that Putin and his alleged mistress Alina Kabaeva own property in the area, the independent Meduza news website reported March 17. (MT/AFP, 03.17.23)
  • Russia is simplifying its bureaucratic requirements for foreign IT workers to live and work in the country, authorities announced March 15. (MT/AFP, 03.15.23)
  • The share of respondents to a recent poll of Russians by FOM who believe that life in the country will deteriorate in the next six months or year is only 16 % (it was lower only in 2010: 14%), while 30% think it will improve. (R.Politik, 03.13.23)
  • Last year, Russian parliamentarians passed a record total of 653 bills, and a significant portion of them dealt with punitive measures. An analysis of the changes made to the Criminal Code shows that 2022 was a record year in terms of the number of amendments: The volume of the text of the Criminal Code increased by almost 10%, a first in post-Soviet Russia. (Media Zone, 03.15.23)
  • The Russian parliament's upper chamber has approved a bill expanding the Kremlin's wartime censorship measures to include punishment for anyone considered to have discredited "volunteer" forces such as so-called private military groups involved in Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (RFE/RL, 03.15.23)
  • The opening of the trial against prominent Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who twice nearly died after what he says were deliberate poisoning attacks, was delayed until March 20 after his lawyer told the court his health had "significantly deteriorated." (RFE/RL, 03.16.23)
  • A 22-year-old resident of the town of Lukhovitsy near Moscow has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for throwing a Molotov cocktail at a local military enlistment center in late February last year. (Current Time, 03.15.23)
  • A court in Russia's southwestern city of Rostov-on-Don has sentenced Crimean Tatar activist Ametkhan Abdulvapov to 10 1/2 years in prison on extremism charges that he has vehemently rejected. (RFE/RL, 03.15.23)
  • The former mayor of the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, Yevgeny Roizman, who is under investigation on a controversial charge of "discrediting the armed forces" involved in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, has been detained again, his lawyer Vladislav Idamzhapov said on March 16. Idamzhapov added that the detention was most likely related to Navalny.  (RFE/RL, 03.16.23)
  • A court in Moscow has issued an arrest warrant for noted media manager Ilya Krasilshchik, who lives in Berlin. In July 2022, Krasilshchik, former chief editor of the Afisha journal and the former publisher of the Meduza website, was added to Russia's wanted list after he was charged in absentia with discrediting Russian armed forces. (RFE/RL, 03.16.23)
  • A court in Russia's city of Tolyatti on March 17 sentenced Andrei Balin, a former co-chairman of the opposition Parnas party's local branch, to seven years in prison on a charge of discrediting Russia's armed forces. (RFE/RL, 03.17.23)
  • Well-known Soviet-era dissident and human rights activist Sergei Grigoryants has died in Moscow at the age of 81. (RFE/RL, 03.15.23)
  • Chechnya’s strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov has insisted he is “a completely healthy person.” Speculation over his future had been fueled by Kadyrov’s eldest son, Akhmat, visiting the Kremlin earlier this month for a highly unusual one-on-one meeting with Putin, whose press office did not publicize the meeting. (FT, 03.16.23)

Defense and aerospace:

  • A draft law raising the age of conscription into Russia's army has been submitted to parliament's lower house. Under the bill, the draft age will rise in 2026 to 21 years of age from the current 18 years of age. The upper end of the draft age requirement will also increase, to 30 years of age from the current 27. (RFE/RL, 03.13.23)
  • The Kremlin on March 15 denied that Russia was considering a second round of military mobilization for the war in Ukraine as military offices in a number of regions started asking reservists to “clarify” their personal information. (MT/AFP, 03.15.23)
  • Military registration and enlistment offices in 40 Russian regions have begun sending summons to citizens, Pavel Chikov, head of the Agora human rights group, said. (, 03.16.23)
  • The Russian mercenary group Wagner has placed advertisements on Pornhub, the world’s largest pornographic website, as it tries to recruit fighters to reinforce its troops fighting as part of the Kremlin's war against Ukraine. (RFE/RL, 03.16.23)
  • A court in St. Petersburg has upheld the right of a soldier conscripted during Russia's war in Ukraine to perform alternative civil service, a rights group said. (Reuters, 03.16.23)
  •  See section Military aspects of the Ukraine conflict and their impacts above.

Security, law-enforcement and justice:

  • Russian media reports cited sources in emergency services on March 17 as saying that the death toll has risen to four in a fire that broke out the previous day in the compound of the FSB in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. (RFE/RL, 03.17.23)
  • The Moscow regional court sentenced a resident of the city of Serpukhov, Alexander Syomin, to 24 years in prison in a high-profile case over the molestation and murder of a 5-year-old Tajik girl in 2018. (Current Time, 03.15.23)
  • According to Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, in January 2022, 13,300 crimes related to the illegal circulation of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or their analogues were registered, while in January 2023 there were 16,200 such offenses. (Istories, 03.11..23) 
  • Russia's Supreme Court on March 16 granted a motion made by Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov to recognize the Freedom of Russia Legion as a terrorist organization, RIA Novosti reported. Part of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Freedom of Russia Legion was founded just over a year ago with the stated aim of freeing the occupied regions of Ukraine and overthrowing the “dictatorial regime of Vladimir Putin,” according to its manifesto. (MT/AFP, 03.16.23)


III. Russia’s relations with other countries

Russia’s general foreign policy and relations with “far abroad” countries:

  • Russia's arms exports dropped 31% in the five years that ended in 2022, compared with the five years ending in 2017, according to SIPRI. Russia's share of global arms exports dropped from 22% in 2013-2017 to 16% in 2018-2022. If one were to compare SIRPI’s data for Russia’s arms exports in 2021 and in 2022, one would find that the decline wasless than 1.3% (from $2.857 billion to $2.820 billion). In addition Russia retained its position as the second largest arms exporter after the U.S. in 2018-2022, according to SIPRI. In contrast, the U.S. market share grew, up 7 percentage points to 40%, over the same period, according to WSJ. (WSJ, 03.13.23, RM, 03.13.23)
    • One beneficiary of Russia's problems in recent years has been France, according to SIPRI. France's share of global arms exports was 11% in the 2018-2022 period, up from 7.1% in the five years ending 2017, SIPRI data show. The U.S. market share has also grown, up 7 percentage points to 40%, over the same period. (WSJ, 03.13.23)
    • Russia remains India’s main source of weapons even as the nation has drastically trimmed purchases. India’s Russian weapon imports dropped by 19% for the five year period starting 2018 compared to a similar time frame earlier, according to a report from SIPRI. (Bloomberg, 03.13.23)
  • Russia has asked Bangladesh to open a direct payment channel between their central banks. Russia is pushing for an alternative payment system after the South Asian nation failed to transfer a repayment for an initial $500 million loan for preparatory work on a multi-billion dollar nuclear plant. The $12.65 billion power plant will be mostly funded by the Russian loan. (Bloomberg, 03.16.23)
  • Rosatom's fuel company TVEL said it has won a tender from Brazil's Eletronuclear to supply more than 100kg of lithium-7 hydroxide for use in the cooling system of the Angra nuclear power plant. (WNN, 03.15.23)
  • Russia's Federal Customs Service is to resume publication of the country's official foreign trade data after a year-long hiatus, the agency announced on March 13. (MT/AFP, 03.13.23)
  • Poland has dismantled a pro-Russia spy network suspected of monitoring transport routes in order to sabotage shipments of weapons and aid to Ukraine, the Polish interior minister said. Mariusz Kamiński said that nine foreign nationals from unspecified eastern European countries had been detained. Kamiński said Poland’s security agency had found cameras, electronic equipment and GPS transmitters “that were to be mounted on transports with aid for Ukraine.” (FT, 03.16.23)
  • Nikolai Malinov, a former Bulgarian lawmaker accused of spying for Russia and sanctioned by the United States for corruption has been elected head of the International Movement of Russophiles (MDR). (RFE/RL, 03.15.23)


  • Pope Francis says he is willing to travel to Ukraine, which is under attack from Russia, but only on the condition that he can also travel to Moscow. (dpa, 03.12.23)
  • Anti-corruption authorities in Ukraine are seeking the pre-trial detention of Andriy Kobolyev, who is suspected of embezzlement while leading Naftogaz. (Reuters, 03.10.23)
  • Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has created the Department for Corruption Prevention; they ask citizens to report all violations there and are currently hiring staff. (Yahoo, 03.15.23)

Russia's other post-Soviet neighbors:

  • Moldovan police said March 12 they had arrested members of a network "orchestrated by Moscow" in a bid to destabilize the small ex-Soviet nation as an anti-government protest kicked off. (MT/AFP, 03.12.23) 
    • Moldova does not currently face "imminent military danger" but is subject to "hybrid warfare generated by Russia" in a bid to "overthrow state power," Defense Minister Anatolie Nosatii said. (AFP, 03.13.23)
  • Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko met on March 13 with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Iran. The two signed a roadmap agreement on bilateral cooperation for the next three years. (RFE/RL, 03.13.23)
  • Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has declined to support the right to self-determination for Nagorno-Karabakh residents, marking a departure from Armenia's longstanding policy on the conflict with Azerbaijan. Previous Armenian governments had advocated for this right during peace talks mediated by the U.S., Russia and France. (BNE, 03.15.23)
    • Russia’s redeployment of elements of its “peacekeeping force” from Nagorno-Karabakh to Ukraine is eroding Russia’s influence with Armenia. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan of preparing to conduct a new large-scale attack and genocide against ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh at an unspecified future time on March 16. (ISW, 03.16.23)
  • A Polish medical team is ready to go to Georgia to check the health of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, a government spokesman in Warsaw said on March 13, as fears over his condition grow. (Reuters, 03.13.23)
  • Uzbek parliament's upper chamber, the Senate, has approved a bill on the Central Asian nation's new constitution that would allow President Shavkat Mirziyoev to run for a third term in office. (RFE/RL, 03.15.23)
  • A court in Uzbekistan's southwestern city of Bukhara has sentenced another 39 Karakalpak activists accused of taking part in unsanctioned anti-government protests in the Central Asian nation's Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan last year. (RFE/RL, 03.17.23)
  • Just two days before parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan, President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev has signed a law that toughens punishments for those who call for mass unrest. According to the law, endorsed on March 17, the punishment for such actions will rise from three years to up to seven years in prison. (RFE/RL, 03.17.23)
  • Kazakhstan's Supreme Court has ordered Bolat Nazarbaev, the younger brother of the Central Asian nation's former President Nursultan Nazarbaev, to return to the state an almost 32% stake he holds in the Almaty Heavy Machinery Factory (AZTM). (RFE/RL, 03.16.23)


IV. Quotable and notable

  • “Russia is a distinctive Eurasian and, as we say, Euro-Pacific civilization,” Director of the Foreign Policy Planning Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexei Drobynin said. (Russian Foreign Ministry, 03.13.23)



  1. Here and elsewhere italicized text represents contextual commentary by RM staff.